If this program (see previous posts) is new for you children, it is especially important that you start out slowly. Do not overwhelm the poor kid with demands. Add responsibilities slowly, one at a time.
- You both will be a lot happier if you make the room as easy as possible to keep neat and orderly. Get down on your knees–c’mon it won’ t hurt you–and look at the world from a child’s-eye view. There’s a lot you can do to make cleanup and maintenance easier. For starters, you can:
- Lower the clothes rack in the closets.
- Put in plenty of large hooks for play clothes, night-clothes, backpack, etc.
- Put dividers in drawers.
- Label drawers with words or pictures so things get put away where they belong. This is also great pre-reading instruction.
- Use several smaller toy containers rather than one large one. With luck, only 20 rather than 50 toys will be dumped on the floor.
- To minimize bed making use a duvet and fitted bottom sheet. But remember even with this simplification it’s difficult for little people to make a bed!
- Designate one drawer for junk. Bet you have one!
- A clear plastic shoe bag hung over a door is a great place to store craft supplies, small toys, rolled up underwear, hair ribbons and other small things.
- Use sturdy clear plastic storage containers in several sizes for toys, art supplies, etc. Stackable, covered ones are best. Label them (see #4). What can be seen won’t be dumped–maybe.
- Put a bed on stilts or hang it from the ceiling to give him a generous play and storage space underneath.
- Consider rotating toys occasionally. This cuts down on the number to be put away and gives your little ones “new” ones to play with when they’re brought out of hiding.
Some Words of Caution
What do you mean when you say, “Clean up your room”? Now, that may sound like a dumb question, but your concept of a clean room is probably completely different from your child’s idea. Too often we ask a child to do something–put the dirty dishes in the dishwasher, mow the lawn, dust the living room–and then get angry because the finished product doesn’t match our mental image of what it should look like. Spend time demonstrating specifically what needs to be done and how to do it. Babies do not come into this world with an instinctive knowledge of how to make a bed. Teach necessary skills. Assume nothing.
Just one final word” Try to keep things in perspective. Junior’s room may look like the aftermath of Hurricane Hilda, but how much is it really going to matter ten years from now?
And now, our Savvy Reader, what ideas do you have? Won’t you share them with our readers?
In many homes there is a mysterious, potentially dangerous, looks-like-a-cyclone-struck-it nether world inhabited by the small people of the family. And the condition of this room(s) can be a major source of…hmmm…shall we say, disharmony.
There are of course two schools of thought here. If you don’t firmly subscribe to one or the other, perhaps now is the time to think things through.
Some parents consider their child’s room as their own private space to be kept to his own standards. They usually would prefer a picture perfect room, but they know they have to pick their battles. If this is you l, simply shut the door and, more important, “zip you lips.” Depending on their age and temperament, natural consequences will usually force them to take some action periodically.
On the other hand, you may feel that since the bedroom is a part of the family home it should be kept up to family standards.
No right or wrong here. But the more resolute your viewpoint, the more successful you will be either in enforcing order or ignoring the whole mess.
Bringing Order Out of Chaos
- If you’ve decided the kid’s room has to be brought up to family standards, here’s some suggestions for making the job easier for both of you.
- Insist that the room is cleaned up before dinner, screen time, story time, weekend activities or whatever else works.
- Reward a job well done with a star on the chart, a small treat, or with points towards something she wants. This can be done on a regular basis or by surprise inspections.
- If you have professional housekeeping help–and we hope you do!–make it the rule that the room must be straightened or it doesn’t get cleaned. This can work wonders especially if Occupant is then responsible to clean everything himself!
- Emphasize they must feel to have everything orderly, be able to find everything, etc. Acknowledge that this is no easy task, but it sure does help out the family, makes you proud, keeps the health inspector from the door…you get the picture.
Be sure to read our next post, “This Kid Has It Easy” for suggestions to make it easier for kids to keep things (reasonably) neat and orderly.
Hey, Savvy Reader! Do you have something to add to the list above? We love your ideas.